Irish tech firms raise almost €1bn in funding in 2017

Pace of growth slows compared with previous year despite new record total of €994m

 

Irish technology companies raised almost €1 billion last year, reaching a new record, but the pace of growth slowed over the year.

The VenturePulse survey said a total of €994 million was raised by firms in 2017, a rise of 12 per cent year on year. But that growth paled in comparison to the 70 per cent reported in 2016, when firms raised a total of €885 million for the year. In 2015, that figure was €522 million.

Most of the funding raised in 2017 was for growth and expansion, representing 85 per cent of funds.

“It is noteworthy, however, that seed/early stage grew significantly reaching a high of €131 million for the year, up from €70.2 million in 2016,” said Sarah-Jane Larkin, director general of Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

International investors were responsible for 63 per cent of the total, but Irish-based investors also played a significant role, often acting as the local lead investor for syndicates.

“International VCs are often encouraged by the due diligence implications of early stage funding by a local VC,” she said.

Notable

In the final quarter of the year, technology firms raised a total of €177 million, up from €154 million in the same period of 2016. Among some of the most notable deals was a €40 million funding round for Cubic Telecom in the final quarter of the year, while cloud firm Options Trading raised €100 million.

TransferMate announced a €30 million fundraising round in November, and data mining health firm Nuritas raised €16.8 million.

The most funded sector was software, which accounted for 28 per cent of the money raised last year, followed by life sciences at 23 per cent and fintech at 18 per cent.

Chairman of the IVCA Peter Sandys warned there was no room for complacency.

“With continuing uncertainties over the impact on Ireland of Brexit, lower US corporation tax rates and possible US trade wars, it is more important than ever that we continue to build an indigenous knowledge-based economy,” he said.

Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, more than 1,400 Irish SMEs have turned to venture capital funds to raise €4.5 billion, which in turn supported the creation of almost 20,000 jobs, Ms Larkin said.